The best books about the Beatles from someone who loves them

Who am I?

The first record I ever bought was Magical Mystery Tour when I was no more than twelve or so. It’s what made me want to be a musician myself. I’ve got every Beatle record and I am the kind of guy to study carefully who played what, who wrote what, and how they put it all together. Just before Covid shut down everything, I even went to Abbey Road studios where we recorded some of the songs for my novel (we wrote and recorded all the songs of the fictitious band Downtown Exit). Working in Abbey Road was a dream come true – to record in the same rooms that the Beatles used. Imagine that. It was wonderful.

I wrote...

Bootleg Stardust

By Glenn Dixon,

Book cover of Bootleg Stardust

What is my book about?

It’s 1974 and young Levi Jaxon is about to become very famous. He’s a young guitarist from nowhere who’s been dutifully sending out demo tapes to record companies when, a miracle of miracles, he gets a call to audition for an already-famous band called Downtown Exit. They’re recording their second album at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London and he’s got to get over there as soon as possible.

Nothing is as it seems though, and when they set off on their first European tour, everything starts to go wrong and Levi has to escape before he loses everything: the love of his life, the rights to his songs, and a box filled with about a hundred thousand dollars worth of Greek drachma.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Love Me Do! The Beatles' Progress

Why did I love this book?

Rolling Stone magazine chose Love Me Do: the Beatles Progress as the best of all the Beatles’ books which is a little unfair because it barely moves beyond 1963. On the other hand, it’s a riveting, eye witness account (author Michael Braun was a journalist embedded with the Beatles on some of their first tours) and it covers the first blast of Beatlemania, the screaming fans, and of course their legendary appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in February of 1964.

By Michael Braun,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love Me Do! The Beatles' Progress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rolling Stone magazine named this the #1 Beatles Book. It is the classic behind-the-scenes story of The Beatles first British tour. The year is 1963. 'Love Me Do' is The Beatles first hit single, closely followed by 'Please Please Me,' which reached No. 1. John, Paul, George, and Ringo celebrate their newfound success with a hectic six-week tour, briefly interrupted by a historic live appearance at the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium.

It is the beginning of Beatlemania, and American writer Michael Braun is there as the drama unfolds. Eavesdropping on The Beatles' private conversations. Recording every last…

Book cover of Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles

Why did I love this book?

The author is the thing here. Geoff Emerick was the sound engineer at Abbey Road Studios during the recording of the later Beatle albums – Sgt. Pepper, the White Album, and, yes, Abbey Road. Of course, every Beatle fan knows that George Martin was the Beatle’s producer but it was Emerick who set up the microphones and the tape loops. It was Emerick who captured Ringo’s drumming the best (pillow in the bass drum) and to a large degree, it was he who helped the Beatles shape their legendary sound.

By Geoff Emerick, Howard Massey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Here, There and Everywhere as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An all-access, firsthand account of the life and music of one of history's most beloved bands--from an original mastering engineer at Abbey Road
Geoff Emerick became an assistant engineer at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in 1962 at age fifteen, and was present as a new band called the Beatles recorded their first songs. He later worked with the Beatles as they recorded their singles “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” the songs that would propel them to international superstardom. In 1964 he would witness the transformation of this young and playful group from Liverpool into…

Book cover of The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of the Beatles

Why did I love this book?

The Love You Make is pure pop pablum. It’s almost tabloid-like in its recounting of the Beatle’s relationships, their drug use, and their many petty squabbles. Written by Brian Epstein’s assistant (Brian Epstein, of course, was the Beatles’ manager), Brown has some stories to tell. Full of photos too. This one’s a lot of fun if you don’t take it too seriously.

By Peter Brown, Steven Gaines,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Love You Make as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is the national bestseller that Newsday called “the most authoritative and candid look yet at the personal lives…of the oft-scrutinized group.” In The Love You Make, Peter Brown, a close friend of and business manager for the band—and the best man at John and Yoko’s wedding—presents a complete look at the dramatic offstage odyssey of the four lads from Liverpool who established the greatest music phenomenon of the twentieth century. Written with the full cooperation of each of the group’s members and their intimates, this book tells the inside story of the music and the madness, the feuds and…

Book cover of Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties

Why did I love this book?

Revolution in the Head should come with a warning. This one is only for the most serious of Beatle fanatics. It’s an encyclopedic tome listing every song they ever recorded, who played on it, and even what days it was recorded (Strawberry Fields was recorded over five different sessions through November 1966). There are also many longer sections dealing with the particular cultural moments surrounding the writing of the songs and a whole lot of controversial opinion-making about just which ones are good songs and which are not.

By Ian MacDonald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Revolution in the Head as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This “Bible of the Beatles” captures the iconic band’s magical and mysterious journey from adorable teenagers to revered cultural emissaries. In this fully updated version, each of their 241 tracks is assessed chronologically from their first amateur recordings in 1957 to their final “reunion” recording in 1995. It also incorporates new information from the Anthology series and recent interviews with Paul McCartney. This comprehensive guide offers fascinating details about the Beatles’ lives, music, and era, never losing sight of what made the band so important, unique, and enjoyable.

Book cover of Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World

Why did I love this book?

Like none of the others, Dreaming the Beatles is more like a series of reflections from someone who came along well after the Beatles. The book was published in 2017 and it’s a fond look back at what still remains. Not so much a direct history as a sort of compendium of remembrance with chapters like “The Importance of Being Ringo” or “The Cover of Abbey Road.” A distinct pleasure to read.

By Rob Sheffield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dreaming the Beatles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An NPR Best Book of the Year • Winner of the Virgil Thomson Award for Outstanding Music Criticism

“This is the best book about the Beatles ever written”  —Mashable

Rob Sheffield, the Rolling Stone columnist and bestselling author of Love Is a Mix Tape offers an entertaining, unconventional look at the most popular band in history, the Beatles, exploring what they mean today and why they still matter so intensely to a generation that has never known a world without them.

Dreaming the Beatles is not another biography of the Beatles, or a song-by-song analysis of the best of John…

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Interested in The Beatles, rock music, and music?

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